The victory of Joe Biden within the 2020 US presidential election outlines a number of challenges for Mexico-United States relations. Biden intends to rebuild U.S. relations with its allies, rejoin the Paris local weather settlement, promote financial safety and restore American credibility overseas. Even when these guarantees don’t particularly goal Mexico, it’s clear that Biden’s broader agenda will demand a better negotiation capability in numerous points and ranges of the Mexican authorities. Relations with a Biden administration will even be a private problem as the present Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (also referred to as AMLO) from Movimiento Regeneración Nacional, developed a subordinated however collaborative relationship with the Trump administration. Certainly, López Obrador’s go to to Washington on July 8, 2019, was criticized as a supporting gesture to Trump’s candidacy as he didn’t additionally meet the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe R. Biden Jr. Moreover, López Obrador’s administration broke Mexican diplomatic custom by refusing to acknowledge the outcomes of the U.S. presidential elections till all authorized points are settled. His comparability between U.S. 2020 elections and Mexican 2006 elections may additionally open the ground for misunderstandings, as a consequence of the truth that Mexican elections in that yr had been accused of fraud (Cárdenas 2007).

The place of López Obrador has generated criticism each in Mexico and within the U.S., resembling journalists and public figures. It could possibly symbolize a delay in beginning negotiations with the brand new U.S. administration, foreshadowing implicit prices for Mexico-U.S. relations. Throughout Biden’s administration, Mexican authorities will face delicate points in its diplomatic agenda with the U.S., just like the USMCA origin guidelines for the car business and new labor laws. Contemplating that U.S. contains 80% of Mexican exports, their financial relations dictates the way forward for Mexican financial system after the covid-19 pandemic. All these challenges demand a better diploma of communication and cooperation between each international locations.

The U.S. electoral marketing campaign in 2016 created a number of instabilities inside the Mexican political panorama. Donald Trump promised to construct a wall throughout the border and make Mexico pay for it. He additionally set out a harder migration coverage, and renegotiated the North America Free Commerce Settlement (NAFTA) as a way to relocate American corporations again to the US. Even when the previous Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto (from Partido Revolucionário Institucional) was underneath stress to reply to all these threats, the uncertainty in relations with Mexico’s important commerce companion clearly contributed to decreasing his approval score and to facilitate the victory of López Obrador in 2018.

Renegotiating NAFTA and forcing Mexico to extend navy management over its Southern border to cease Central American immigration had been among the international coverage achievements of Trump’s administration. Secondly, regardless of the profound asymmetry between each international locations, Trump confronted domestic opposition when he threatened to go away NAFTA, particularly from companies and border states. To regulate migration and keep away from the imposition of tariffs, Mexico and U.S signed the Migration Safety Protocol, referred to as Programa Permanecer en México on January 2019. Beneath the MPP, asylum searching for migrants of non-Mexican nationality needed to wait in Mexico for his or her proceedings to validate earlier than getting into the US. The Mexican authorities had dedicated to supply humanitarian help, together with well being care, authorized help and job alternatives. The cooperation with Mexico was mixed with powerful U.S. Immigration protocols, resembling denial of naturalization. In keeping with the Pew Research Institute, arrests of migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border reached its highest level in 12 years.

It was anticipated that the collaboration of Mexico in migration would assist López Obrador’s administration to boost funds for his Comprehensive Development Plan, negotiated with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras by means of the Financial Fee for Latin America and the Caribbean. Nevertheless, Lopez Obrador’s compromise with the U.S. on immigration hampered the chance for a multilateral management in Latin America. Traditionally, Mexican governments most well-liked to barter their strategic international coverage points bilaterally with American governments, since their pursuits are historically nearer to Mexican home politics.

Concerning commerce points, U.S., Canada and Mexico signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Settlement (USMCA) that substituted NAFTA on 2 July 2020. USMCA repositioned Mexico within the international U.S. technique to comprise China. In an effort to lower the imports from international international locations, the brand new settlement strengthened regional worth chains. Additionally, the settlement sought to implement Mexican labor requirements, that are included within the 1917 Mexican structure, however had been by no means totally applied. It is usually anticipated that the USMCA would assist the North American economies regrow after the covid-19 pandemic. Because of the important Mexican dependence on the U.S. financial system and the flamboyant character of Donald Trump, López Obrador had little space to barter different points along with his northern neighbor. The agenda was circumscribed to conventional points, particularly migration and commerce, which is able to possible quickly change underneath the incoming Biden administration.

The financial system might be of essential significance in Mexico-U.S. relations underneath a Biden administration. The brand new USMCA regional worth content material for the car business – from 62.5% to 75% of important elements – goals to substitute incomes from different international locations for these produced by the three members in North America. Nevertheless, the quantity of products that might be substituted is dependent upon a excessive degree cooperation and institutionalization. The measures per se should not be sufficient to lower China’s participation in regional imports. The substitution of imports in North America additionally is dependent upon the way forward for U.S.-China relations. Biden promised to confront Chinese language abusive and unfair practices in world commerce and human rights violations. On this state of affairs, Mexico might have a singular alternative to extend its participation in U.S. imports since it’s a competitor of China within the phase of intermediate items like electronics and auto elements. It is usually value noticing that Mexico had a commerce deficit with China of roughly US $75 billion in 2019.

One other problem to be confronted by the Biden administration would be the USMCA enforcement on Mexican working requirements, a historic demand from the Democratic Celebration. In keeping with the USMCA, new Labor Worth Content material (LVC) for the car business, 40% of autos’ added worth should be manufactured by employees who obtain a minimum of US$ 16 per hour. Contemplating that the Mexican nationwide common wage is approximately US $2 per hour, the LVC places stress on Mexico to alter its industrial coverage. Despite the fact that López Obrador has been advocating for a rise in minimal wage since 2018, it’s nonetheless inadequate to distinction labor outsourcing and the present nationwide poverty degree. There’s additionally the danger of corporations concentrating their excessive wage manufacturing in Canada and in the US. Contemplating that 60% of the automobile manufacturing doesn’t have to comply with the brand new laws, Mexico’s picture could possibly be bolstered because the one in every of an intermediate producer with low paid jobs if the nationwide authorities doesn’t undertake a extra constant industrial coverage. It means investing in high quality schooling, combating regional inequality, stimulating native manufacturing and selling analysis and improvement.

It’s possible that the Mexico-U.S. agenda might be expanded – including atmosphere, democracy and human rights points. This new emphasis might enhance US consideration on Mexican home politics. Some issues are nonetheless unclear, resembling the way forward for Mérida Initiative or the US collaboration on Plan de Desarrollo Integral. On migration, Biden promised to finish the Migration Safety Protocol and to revive U.S. asylum legal guidelines, presumably altering the Mexican place in controlling Central American migration fomented by the Trump’s administration. In an effort to face this agenda, the Mexican authorities should get together with the U.S. federal authorities, but additionally with native administrations. On this sense, the sooner López Obrador begins negotiations with the brand new US administration the higher the probabilities for enhancing bilateral confidence. This can be a essential alternative for Mexico to enhance nationwide labor laws and promote social improvement.


Cárdenas, J. (2007) ‘El proceso electoral de 2006 y las reformas electorales necesarias’, Revista Mexicana de Derecho Constitucional, 16(1).

Smart, C. (1998). The post-NAFTA political financial system: Mexico and the Western Hemisphere. Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State College.

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